Alina Dąbrowska

Born 1923 in Biała, Poland

Alina Dąbrowska grew up near the city of Łódź in Poland. Her schooling was interrupted when Germany invaded Poland in 1939. She was forced to work in an armaments factory under the occupation. On 13 May 1942, the Gestapo arrested her at the factory and accused her of Geheimnisverrat or betraying official secrets.

After thirteen months in prison, Alina Dąbrowska was deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp in June 1943. In the camp, she was forced to work in the personal effects warehouse, where the SS stored the property of hundreds of thousands of murdered Jews. She was also subjected to pseudo-medical experiments by SS doctors.

In 1945, she was sent on a death march to the Malchow subcamp of Ravensbrück concentration camp in Mecklenburg. In April, she was transported to the HASAG Leipzig subcamp of Buchenwald, a forced labour camp for the armaments industry. She managed to escape from the camp in the last weeks of the war.

On 11 May 1945, Alina Dąbrowska returned to her home city of Łódź. After completing secondary school, she studied international law and had a long career with the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For many years, Alina Dąbrowska has volunteered her time as an eyewitness and spoken to groups of young people from all over Europe.

Find out more

Alina Dąbrowska & Wiktor Krajewski: Wiem, jak wygląda piekło, Warszawa 2019. [‘I know what Hell is like’]

Alina Dąbrowska on the website of the Maximilian-Kolbe-Werk, [German]